Japan will face the hostage crisis with Jordan and secure the release of Kenji Goto, the Japanese who has been held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Goto’s fellow captive Haruna Yukawa was believed to have already been killed last week, after Japan denied the $200 million ransom asked by the Islamic militants. The country reiterates: it is still not giving in to terrorism.
Japan’s hostage crisis is a test for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pledged to improve the nation’s role in global security. The prime minister was re-elected in a snap election in December for the position he has been holding since 2012. On Sunday, he called the killing of Yukawa “outrageous” as he faces another challenge of giving in to the demand; this time for Goto, who is a veteran correspondent. The ransom has shifted from money to the release of woman Iraqi suicide bomber, Sajida al-Rishawi, who is now imprisoned in Jordan.
In a coalition bombing led by the U.S. in eastern Syria in December, a Jordanian pilot had his warplane crashed near Raqqa, a city of northern Syria. He was captured by the militants.
Being on the same dilemma, Japan will face the hostage crisis with Jordan and Foreign Affairs State Minister Yasuhide Nakayama, who flew to Jordan to work with its government to secure Goto’s release. Nakayama said the release of the Jordanian pilot is their issue as well; he said Japan and Jordan will work together, so that both hostages will happily return to their respective homes as soon as possible.
King Abdullah of Jordan was quoted by a Jordanian newspaper that the release of First Lieutenant Muath al Kasaesbeh, the hostaged pilot is their top priority. On Monday, two Jordan parliament members told news agency, Kyodo, that the country may be willing to release the convicted woman bomber for Goto and Kasaesbeh.
On Tuesday, an online message allegedly from Islamic militants warned that the Japanese hostage, as well as the Jordanian pilot they are holding, only have 24 hours left. They demanded for the release of al-Rishawi who was involved in a terror attack which killed 60 people in 2005. They said unless the Iraqi woman is freed within 24 hours, their two hostages will be killed. They added that delayed tactic may result in the death of the hostages.
The video matches the Saturday-released video which informed the killing of Yukawa with Goto holding the alleged former’s dead body. The video has Goto telling an “easier and fairer” demand – the release of the Iraqi woman. He said no more worries about terrorist funding, just the release of their sister al-Rishawi.
In Tokyo, a group of Arab ambassadors with Jordanian, Syrian and Saudi Arabian envoys condemned Yukawa’s killing and demanded the release of Goto. They said Japan stood beside Arab and Islamic countries on many occasions.
Japan will face the hostage crisis with Jordan for the immediate release of Goto and Kasaesbeh. Its government had an emergency meeting on Tuesday and Spokesman Yoshihide Suga said they are requesting the cooperation of Jordan to resolve the hostage crisis both countries are now facing.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis – Flickr License